Leo, the Rosary, and Christian Unity (Part 1 of 10)

Oct 7th, 2014 | By | Category: Blog Posts, Catholic Life and Devotion

This is the first in a ten part guest series by Beth Turner, the wife of Barrett Turner. Beth and Barrett were received into full communion at Easter 2010 and live in Virginia with their four children. Beth’s story of her journey into the Catholic Church can be found at “Saved by Love: A Seminary Wife’s Journey.”

Introducing Leo and the Rosary

607px-Leo_XIII. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903)

Pope Leo XIII began writing encyclicals on the Holy Rosary beginning in 1883, and a new one was published each September for many years of his pontificate to promote the devotion of the Rosary. In these encyclicals, he describes the history of the devotion, the reasons for praying it, the proper manner of doing so, and the benefits of this prayer.

The use of the Holy Rosary is particularly recommended during the month of October. During this month in 1571, Christians from all over Europe defeated invading Ottoman forces in the battle of Lepanto off the coast of Greece. The material disadvantages were significant, but the Christian forces implored Mary through the Most Holy Rosary and were victorious on October 7. Today, October 7, is therefore the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. Likewise, after months of appearing to the children at Fatima to instruct them in God’s will and encourage them to pray the Rosary for help, Mary’s last appearance in Portugal was accompanied by “the miracle of the sun” on October 13, 1917. The miracle provided evidence to the crowd that her message was from God.

One theme that emerged as I read the encyclicals is the use of the Rosary as a prayer for Christian unity. Pope Leo XIII’s insights helped me to better appreciate the role that the Mother of God has in facilitating reconciliation, friendship, and union between the brothers and sisters of her Son, Jesus. These reflections suggest ways Catholics can make better use of the holy Rosary to draw us closer to our separated brothers and sisters. I hope Protestants reading these posts will also find a new perspective on Christian unity, and on the holy Rosary.

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